Is social media affecting our creativity?
Josie Sharp evaluates the past, present, and future of creativity to uncover whether social media makes us more homogenous or individual.
Social media has been proven to link to mental health and emotional aspects of the brain amongst many more, but is social media ruining our creativity too? A recent study interviewed young people about their creativity and its link to smartphone addiction. Amongst a higher level of difficulty focusing on class topics for long periods of time, the results showed that people who think more creatively are not as engaged in social media. Those who were considered ‘addicted’ to social media could not think as uniquely as others, as they were so accustomed to being influenced by who they follow on social media platforms.
Kurt Cobain, lead singer of the infamous 90s band “Nirvana” lived in an “analogue world”, one that he did not enjoy the pressures or the expectation to enjoy things that were stereotypically seen as good. His music mixed the genres of punk, rock, and pop, resulting in his band dominating the charts in the early nineties when everyone was looking to him to set trends. His creativity was never doubted when recording his three chart-topping studio albums describing in an interview that he enjoyed the fact that “you call your music on the music alone” which is not something we see in our generation.
Combined with the failures in inducing creativity enacted by social media, we seem to be reaching a creative crisis.
Nowadays, music industries expect a certain level of social media presence from the artists to promote their music and therefore the company that represents them. Often, a specific number of followers across social platforms are expected before industries will consider signing new talent as they believe that without that, they will not be as successful. Whilst artists have always done interviews to promote their work, social media is significantly more time-demanding and personal, something people are not always comfortable with. The time constraints of building a social media presence can take away their time to work on their creative work which should be their sole purpose. Combined with the failures in inducing creativity enacted by social media, we seem to be reaching a creative crisis.
Despite all of this, the benefits social media has made to the industry are undeniable. A much larger number of artists have a chance of ‘making it big’ and the number of genres becoming mainstream has followed.
However, is the fact that more artists are making more successful music mean that it is good music?
However, is the fact that more artists are making more successful music mean that it is good music? To many artists, quantity over quality reigns dominantly due to a lack of creativity. Now, artists often create songs and singles to put together instead of creating a cohesive album, being more concerned with the charts than the passion for their art. Before the age of streaming, CDs and records were the only way of listening to music in your time. Consumers were a lot more selective of what artists and albums they purchased because they could only listen to one album at a time. Now that we stream most of our music, the standard for albums has been lowered due to how easy it is to mix different albums, artists, and songs.
To me, the quality of albums has decreased in the past decade, which does coincide with the increase in social media. This is not to say that all music released has been bad, but that the artists who have truly created great pieces of work do not have a large or personal social media presence. It could be said that social media is destroying artists’ desire to create something original, cohesive, and meaningful due to how heavily they are influenced by the Charts, instead of lowering their level of creativity.